The year 2020 saw the world as we once knew it change drastically before our eyes. Our planet was faced with an unprecedented challenge as the novel Coronavirus shut down economies, re-established social norms, and essentially reshaped our entire way of living. Perhaps the most significant of these changes has been in the way we interact with one another, with social distancing and self-isolation regulations prohibiting social gatherings and even shutting down schools and work places in favour of remote work from home. All of this has been in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, which understandably, has caused the greatest infection rates in more densely populated areas, where social distancing and isolation are far more difficult. This increased risk of infection, paired with the new reality of working from home, has made living outside of major cities much more appealing and caused many individuals to begin moving to smaller cities located in the surrounding areas. One Ontario city in particular has been experiencing growth as never before, and shows no signs of slowing any time in the near future.
Owen Sound, Ontario is a city located in the Georgian Bluffs region, approximately 1.5 hours north-east of Toronto. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many prospective new residents have began flooding the city in search of real estate opportunities and housing availabilities - and unlike Toronto, there is no shortage of housing. With stable vacancy rates and a number of new construction projects underway, Owen Sound is well-equipped and ready to accommodate a sharp increase in population. In fact, recent numbers estimate a total growth of over 29% for the city in the coming decade, which has resulted in numerous new subdivisions and developments launching in various neighbourhoods. Efficient city planning and the welcoming approach of the municipal government has further added to the city’s draw, not only for developers looking to carry out their construction plans, or the many GTA residents looking to distance themselves from larger cities during the pandemic, but also for real estate investors in search of stable, low-risk and profitable properties. All of these factors are working hand in hand to continue supporting a steadily growing economy and population.
In addition to a thriving real estate and construction environment, Owen Sound is a phenomenal city in terms of its standard of living. Countless lists have ranked it among the top in Canada for quality of life, and the growing population of around 22,000 people is multicultural and affluent, with a median yearly income of over $75,000. Coupled with a nearly non-existent crime rate and high education rates in the community, residents enjoy comfortable and safe everyday lives, all of which make Owen Sound an ideal city for both families and singles looking to escape the fast pace and crowdedness of a city like Toronto. It has even been touted as one if the best cities in Canada for retirees.
Thanks also to the breathtaking scenery and natural beauty of the many forests, winding rivers and bays found throughout the region.
While governments continue to speculate as to length of this pandemic and the severity of its effects on our economy and society, we are seeing many changes occur in front of our eyes in real time. As the pandemic carries on, these changes have become more apparent with many being seemingly permanent, causing individuals and families to react in hopes of protecting their mental, physical and financial well-being.
The most immediate effect has been social distancing and the reduction of in-person contact, whether for work or education, to avoid spreading the very contagious Coronavirus. The resulting isolation has led to many working and studying from home, and this remote work has eliminated the need for employees or students to be in physical attendance, and in turn their need to commute or live near their places of work/study. Thus, people now have the freedom of being able to live in lower populated areas farther from major cities and metropolises. Cities such as Owen Sound have been experiencing exponential growth in their populations and new home construction as a result of this shift, expanding areas that were once considered “cottage country” to full residential communities.